G.A. Wells

Photo by Paul Gaylor Photo by Paul Gaylor

On this date in 1926, George Albert (G.A.) Wells was born in England. Wells, a freethought bible scholar, is emeritus professor of German at Birkbeck College, University of London. As a student, Wells roomed with the family of a Swiss Protestant clergyman who had been a pupil of Albert Schweitzer (author of The Quest of the Historical Jesus). This experience introduced Wells to major German scholars and the subject of the historicity of Jesus. Wells' books include: The Jesus of the Early Christians (1971), The Historical Evidence for Jesus (1988), Did Jesus Exist? (1975), J.M. Robertson (1856-1933), edited by G.A. Wells (1987), Belief and Make-Believe: Critical Reflections on the Sources of Credulity (1991), The Jesus Legend, co-written with R. Joseph Hoffman (1996), The Jesus Myth (1998), and The Jesus Puzzle (1999).

Wells maintains that Jesus never existed, either as a person or a divine. The Christian community and average minister tend to be about a century behind serious Christian scholarship, Wells maintains, noting that the legendary character of the "Virgin Birth" was exposed as early as the 1830s by German theologian D.F. Strauss. Wells has been chair of the British Rationalist Press Association. "I say I have no religious beliefs. I certainly think this life is all I have, all anybody has, and I usually say it doesn't seem to me at all meaningful to ask the purpose of life. What purpose does the life of a spider have? If a spider doesn't have a purpose, why should we? Of course, we all have our individual purposes, that's quite different." (Freethought Today, April/May 1985).

“Nowadays, you can say practically anything about Jesus without creating offense--so long as you admit he existed. There was no such person.”

—G.A. Wells, "An Interview with Professor Wells," Freethought Today, April/May 1985

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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